Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DIY: A Traveling Companion

Jes getting ready to board the plane to Europe.
 Well, in case you didn't already think that I was the most geeked-out art teacher there ever was, I went and did this. I created a stuffed version of our school mascot to take on our trip to Germany and the Netherlands. Oh yes, I did. And I'm so excited about it.

Each year, I come up with a theme of study in the art room. Last year, we studied all things Egyptian-y. You can see the end result of that here, here and here. Because of this trip to Europe (I have the good fortune of tagging along with hubs who is going for work), I thought I would take the kids on a trip European adventure with our school mascot, Jes the tiger, as their guide.
 Never having created a stuffed animal before, I went at it kind of haphazardly. In case you are dying to create your own stuffed school mascot, you'll need the following:
  • two pieces of felt for the body
  • buttons for the eyes and nose
  • stuffing
  • a sewing machine
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • extra felt for parts of body 
  1. I began by sketching out the tiger. After I was pleased with the shape of the body, I pinned my drawing to my two pieces of felt and cut it out.
  2. The same process was used for creating the face and muzzle. I drew it out, pinned my drawing to the felt and cut. 
  3. From there, I pinned the face to the body and lightly drew in pencil the parts of the face.
 4. All sewing machines have a zigzag stitch. If you set the zigzag so that the stitches are close together, you get this applique stitch. This is what I used to attach the face to the felt as well as stitch the line for the muzzle, the mouth and attach the white fur on the tummy.
5. For the eyes and the mouth, I sewed some buttons on by hand.
6. The eyelashes, the whiskers and my tiger's name, Jes, were all embroidered by hand.
 7. For the last step, I layered stuffing between the two pieces of felt and, using the same applique stitch, stuffed my stuffy tiger.
Yes, I also created a passport. I told you: Geeked-Out Art Teacher.
 So, why in the world did I do this? Well, the plan is to take photos of Jes (that is the name I christened the tiger as it's the initials of my school) in Germany and the Netherlands to share with the kids. By viewing photos of Jes' explorations, I'm hoping the kids will be more intrigued and draw a greater connection to what they learn. Are you familiar with the Flat Stanley Project? It's the same thing but with our school mascot instead of a flattened dude.
When I asked hubs if I could get Jes' passport stamped at customs, he just looked at me. I suppose it's bad enough that his wife is snapping photos with a stuffed animal.
I have a large wall space in my room that I plan to create a map of Europe so we can track Jes' travels. I've got several other ideas of having Jes send postcards and small gifts to the kids. We'll see. Any ideas or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
Because I'm not TOTALLY crazy and don't want to appear as such by dragging a stuffed animal around Europe, I created this bag to stuff Jes in.
 I do have a wee dilemma. My students will be learning about the art and life of the people of England, Italy and France as well. Sadly, I won't be traveling to any of these places in the near future. If you live in one of these lovely countries or know someone who does...someone that wouldn't mind snapping a couple photos with a sweet and adorable stuffed Tiger,  would you please let me know? Postage would be covered via paypal by me...and a gift of appreciation would most definitely be included.
Jes rolled up and ready to be stuffed into my carry on.
Passport in hand and ready to board.
 Because I know you are dying to be kept abreast with Jes' adventures, I'll be sure to share them with you. 

Thank you for reading and tolerating my art teacher geektasticness. 

Have a lovely week!


  1. I just love this! Looking forward to meeting Jes the tiger after his big European adventure! Have a wonderful and safe trip!!!

  2. Awww this is so cute! What a neat trip! I'm so jealous and I hope you have a fantastic time :)


  3. Oh my goodness, Cassie, that is the cutest thing ever! Your students must love you!!! I'm going to Facebook right now to message you and tell you how to link up with Creative Me... please link up with us when you get back and have a GREAT trip! Miss you!

  4. I have family in England... if you don't get a volunteer from here, I happily volunteer them ;)
    In fact, my sister's school did something like this with a teddy... and when my son was young, a flat version of him went travelling around the states ;)
    There is an artist online (Flickr and blogs) who takes her little bear and snaps him everywhere- Borromini Bear :) Don't be afraid... it can be a lot of fun to figure out how to photograph the toy without a person holding him ;)
    Sounds like a very fun summer for you!

  5. I'm in England and I'd be happy to help :) It just depends what part of England you want the kids to see, I'm based in London but I travel about all this time for my job. Anyways, just let me know :)

    Katie xxx

  6. Nice little guy and I hope he and you (and your husband of course) will enjoy your trip to Germany. I hope also you'll find the time to explore the vintage shops in Munich. Hugs from Miss Maple

  7. Now I don't feel so silly for photographing my dragon sitting on the dock, sunning herself on the dock, resting in the shade of the pines, etc. I've also been photographing all my paper-mâché critters leaving my art room to live in other classrooms and wishing them Bon voyage on their trips down the hall.

  8. Anonymous6/21/2012

    I love this, too! You are the best teacher EVER!

  9. Wish I would have found your blog early. I was on a Mediteranean cruise this summer and visited Spain, Monaco, Italy, Greece and Turkey! I'm also an art teacher who doesn't mind embarrassing herself by taking silly pictures. :)

  10. I hope you don't mind if I praise you upon the excellent quality of your work and to send you good luck with it as you develop in the future.

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